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Friday, March 6, 2015

Audience with the president of Azerbaijan: importance of intercultural and interreligious dialogue to promote peace

Vatican City, 6 March 2015 (VIS) - This morning the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and his wife were received in Audience by the Holy Father Francis. The president subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by the under secretary for Relations with States, Msgr. Antoine Camilleri.

During the cordial discussions, satisfaction was expressed for the development of bilateral relations. In particular, attention was paid to themes regarding the life of the Catholic Community in the country and to a number of initiatives in the culture field, revealing the value in the contemporary world of intercultural and interreligious dialogue to promote peace.

Reference was then made to the current regional and international situation, emphasising the importance of negotiation in conflict resolution, and education for promoting the conditions for peaceful coexistence between populations and different religious groups.

The Pope to members of the Neocatechumenal Way on the “missio ad gentes”: take to the peripheries of the world the message the God loves humanity and that love is possible

Vatican City, 6 March 2015 (VIS) – This morning in the Paul VI Hall Pope Francis received in audience seven thousand members of the Neocatechumenal Way, including two hundred families who will shortly depart on the “missio ad gentes”. “The task of the Pope is to confirm brothers in the faith”, said the Holy Father. “You too, with this gesture, have asked Peter's Successor to confirm your calling, to support your mission, to bless your charism. And today I confirm your calling, I support your mission, and I bless your charism. Because I am happy to do so! Go in the name of Christ, and take his Gospel all round the world”.

As well as from the cardinals and bishops who accompanied the Neocatechumenals, the Pope also gave special greetings to the organisers of the Way: Kiko Arguello and Carmen Hernandez, along with Fr. Mario Pezzi, and expressed his appreciation and encouragement “for all that, via the Way, you do for the good of the Church”.

“Our meeting today is a missionary response in obedience to Christ's instruction; 'Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptised will be saved'. And I am particularly content that this mission of yours will be carried out thanks to Christian families who, joined together in a community, have the mission of giving the signs of the faith that attract men to the beauty of the Gospel. … These communities are formed of a presbyter and four or five families with children, some of whom are fully grown, and constitute a 'missio ad gentes', with a mandate to evangelise non-Christians. To those non-Christians who have never heard of Jesus Christ, and the many non-Christians who have forgotten who Jesus Christ was, who He was: non-Christians who have been baptised but have forgotten their faith on account of secularisation, worldliness and many other things. Let us reawaken that faith!”

“Therefore, even prior to the word, it is your witness of life that demonstrates the heart of Christ's revelation: that God loves man to the extent of delivering Him to death, and that He was resurrected by the Father to give us the grace of offering our life to others. How much solitude, how much suffering, how much distance from God there is in many peripheries of Europe and America, and in many cities of Asia! How great is humanity's need, in every latitude, to hear that God loves us and that love is possible! These Christian communities, thanks to you, missionary families, have the essential task of making this message visible. And what is the message? 'Christ is risen, Christ lives! Christ lives among us!'”

“You have received the strength to leave everything and to depart for distant lands thanks to a path of Christian initiation, lived in small communities, where you have rediscovered the immense richness of your Baptism. This is the Neocatechumenal Way, a true gift of Providence to the Church in our time”, affirmed the Pope, “which rests on the three dimensions of the Church: the Word, the Liturgy and the Community. Therefore, obediently and constantly listening to the Word of God; the Eucharistic celebration in small communities after the first Vespers of Sunday; the celebration of Lauds within the family on Sunday with all children, and the sharing of faith with other brothers are at the origin of the many gifts that the Lord has bestowed to you, along with many vocations to the presbytery and to consecrated life”.

“On a number of occasions I have insisted on the need for the Church to pass from a pastoral ministry of simple conversion to a decisively missionary pastoral ministry. How often, in the Church, do we hold Jesus inside but fail to let Him out? This is the most important thing to do if we do not want the waters of the Church to stagnate. The Way has been carrying out this 'missio ad gentes' amid non-Christians for years now, by means of an 'implantatio Ecclesiae', a new presence of the Church, where the Church does not exist or is unable to reach people. 'What joy you give us through your presence and your activity!', exclaimed Blessed Paul VI in his first audience with you. I too offer you these words and encourage you to continue, entrusting you to the Holy Virgin Mary who inspired the Neocatechumenal Way”.

Telegram for the death of Cardinal Edward M. Egan

Vatican City, 6 March 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has sent a telegram of condolences to Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, archbishop of New York, U.S.A., for the death of Cardinal Edward M. Egan, archbishop emeritus of the same diocese. He recalls with gratitude “his years of episcopal ministry among Christ's flock in Bridgeport and New York, his distinguished service to the Apostolic See, and his expert contribution to the revision of the Church's law in the years following the Vatican Council II”, and, commending the late Cardinal's soul to God, imparts his apostolic blessing to all those participating in his funeral, held in St. Patrick's Cathedral.

Bishop Renato Corti is the author of the meditations for the stations of the 2015 Via Crucis

Vatican City, 6 March 2015 (VIS) – The Holy See Press Office today announced that the texts for the stations of the Via Crucis on Good Friday at the Colosseum have been prepared on behalf of the Holy Father by Bishop Renato Corti, emeritus of Novara, Italy, according to the traditional format of the fourteen stations.

Promoting a Europe based on the sacred nature of the human being

Vatican City, 5 March 2015 (VIS) – Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, secretary for Relations with States, gave an address in Bratislava, Slovakia today, during the meeting of the legal advisers of the Episcopal Conferences of Europe, (C.E.C.E.). The prelate focused on the challenges the Church faces today, and on Pope Francis' two addresses to the European Parliament and the Council of Europe on 25 November 2014.

Archbishop Gallagher emphasised that “at the centre of the Pope's considerations in Strasbourg was his affirmation of the dignity of the human person” and respect for human rights not for political reasons, but because “they are engraved in the heart of every human person”. He continued, “the Pope reminds us of the Christian roots of our continent … and exhorts the members of the European Parliament as the time has come to work together in building a Europe that revolves not around the economy, but around the sacredness of the human person, around inalienable values”, and added, “the time has come for us to abandon the idea of a Europe that is fearful and self-absorbed, in order to revive and encourage a Europe of leadership, a repository of science, art, music, human values and faith as well”.

He went on to highlight the worrying conditions of migrants who seek protection for their lives and families on our continent, a major challenge for Europe which greatly concerns the Pope. “The absence of mutual support within the European Union runs the risk of encouraging particularistic solutions to the problem, solutions which fail to take into account the human dignity of immigrants, and thus contribute to slave labour and continuing social tensions. … Christianity has to perform her mission in Europe, and the Cathlic Church especially, in which the unity of cultural differences is found, can offer tangible help to unite and strengthen the national family of Europe”.


Vatican City, 6 March 2015 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:

- Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith;

- Archbishop Fernando Natalio Chomali Garib, archbishop of Concepcion, apostolic administrator “sede vacante” of Osorno, Chile.

Other Pontifical Acts

Vatican City, 6 March 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Rev. Augusto Paolo Lojudice as auxiliary of the diocese of Rome (area 849, population 2,885,272, Catholics 2,365,923, priests 4834, permanent deacons 122, religious 27,727), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Rome, Italy in 1964 and was ordained a priest in 1989. He holds a licentiate in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, and has served in a number of pastoral roles, including parish vicar in the parishes of “Santa Maria del Buon Consiglio” and “San Virgilio”, parish priest of the parish “Santa Maria Madre del Redentore a Tor Bella Monaca”, and spiritual father of the Pontifical Roman Major Seminary. He is currently parish priest of the “San Luca al Prenestino” parish.

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